One of my stockists told me that she was making a table so that customers could compare joint supplement ingredient amounts. Although I did send through our product composition, I felt that her table didn’t give the whole story to customers. There are two main reasons for this:
1. Most joint supplements for animals contain MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulphate. A few add some extras such as Vitamin C or a mineral or two. Within these three main ingredients, dosage levels differ, prices differ and the form of ingredient differs. These were the only three ingredients included in our stockist’s table.
Glucosamine can be various forms – hydrochloride, sulphate, and N-Acetyl- Glucosamine. All three forms have recently been shown to be equally effective. Chondroitin sulphate is obtained from either cow, pig, bird, fish or shark cartilage. The lower the molecular weight (smaller) the Chondroitin molecule is, the better it is absorbed.
At The Herbal Horse, we don’t use Chondroitin sulphate at all. Why?
- Because I don’t feel that horse should be eating anything derived from beef or pork or sharks.
- Because the evidence supporting Chondroitin sulphate is not terribly convincing. According to Health Library: “Most of these studies suffer from serious problems in design, statistical analysis, and reporting. When pooled together, the results of the three best studies failed to demonstrate benefit. On balance, the evidence for chondroitin’s effectiveness for osteoarthritis is inconsistent and incomplete. Also, most of the studies supporting its use are funded by actual suppliers of products containing it. Not exactly unbiased.
- It is not very readily bioavailable. Which mean that a lot of it is not absorbed orally. Researchers estimate that, at best, only about 15% of an oral dose is available to the body.
2. The other reason that I felt my stockist’s comparison table was unfair was that we use other ingredients, besides the standard MSM, Glucosamine, Chondroitin. In Joint Formula, for example, we use, amongst others: MSM, Glucosamine, Fenugreek, Phytosterols and Devil’s Claw.
Two Indian studies have found that Fenugreek significantly improved arthritis in rats. The one study proposed that this effect was due to Fenugreek’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity.
The number of studies that have found Phytosterols to be beneficial to joints is staggering. I have only cited a few here.
The anti-inflamatory effect of Devil’s Claw is probably due to a molecule called Harpagoside. Several studies have found this herb to be as effective as NSAIDs.
So, to sum up, our supplement may not have looked as concentrated as our competitor’s did. But I am willing to bet that it would outperform all of them.
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